Not up for trudging to the grandparents again this Christmas? Tired of the same old frantic Christmas morning? Why not escape the chaos that the holidays can bring and treat yourself to a little break in New York City, plop down on the beaches of Kauai for a week of relaxation or hop aboard a Caribbean cruise headed down to the islands? This may be the first Christmas you don’t need a vacation to recover from.
City break: New York
There is nothing like New York City during the holidays. Shop at FAO Schwartz, view the window displays at the city’s department stores (Bergdorf Goodman is paying homage to the 1920s!), and of course ice skating in Central Park.
Bryant Park is bursting with life during the holidays. Grab your skates and take a twirl around the ice. Bring cash and a credit card so you can hit the Holiday Market too.
Captivate your daughter with a trip to see the Rockettes celebrate their 85th year at Radio City Music Hall or The Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet. Little boys will love the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden. Moms won’t want to miss out on the Brooklyn Flea Market where they can pick up a bit of vintage finds and sample food to throw into the stockings this year.
Just in case your little ones are a little tardy in their letter writing, they can still get their wish list to Santa via Macy’s Santa’s Mailbox. Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation for every letter received. Perhaps your kids will need to send a few letters to Santa this year.
And of course, no trip to New York is complete without a photo in front of that iconic tree in Rockefeller Plaza.
Pack your swimsuits, sunscreen and hats. It’s time to leave the insanity we like to call Christmas behind. Grab a suite at the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort in Kapaa or a vacation rental on the east or south sides of the island for maximum sunny days and calmer waters for the kids. If you want to escape the crowds head north, although the water will be rough in winter.
If you really need a few holiday activities to get yourself in the spirit of the seasons, check out a Heart of Slack Key concert or take in a Holiday Memories Concert with the Kauai Chorale. Don’t be surprised if you see a few singing elves wandering around the island either. They pop up all month long as Christmas draws near.
If you are in town on Dec. 21 don’t miss the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade, sure to be a hit with the whole family. Join fellow nature lovers at the Kauai Museum on Dec. 27 to welcome Chinese New Year by creating narcissus bulbs.
For a little shopping fun keep an eye out for local holiday craft and art shows. The weekly farmers markets are also not to be missed. They are the perfect spot to pick up cheap, local produce and a few snacks while you shop.
When you are in paradise you might not want to deal with making a Christmas brunch or dinner. Why not head to the Grand Hyatt Kauai’s Ilima Terrace Holiday Buffet? While you’re at it make a reservation to see their Luau during your stay as well. Mom and dad can dive into some delicious food, while the kids sit in awe of the fire dancer.
Island hopping in the Caribbean
It’s time to really take the guesswork and planning out of the holidays. Hop onboard a Caribbean cruise and let the staff take care of the rest. From themed breakfasts, to teen nights and kids clubs, Mom and Dad will get as much of a break as the kids!
Lisa Goodmurphy of Gone with the Family surprised her girls with a cruise last year for the holidays. As with every year her kids received the gift of travel. Lisa says, “We have spent New Year’s in large cities, at theme parks, playing in the snow and playing on the beach. Last year we rang in the New Year on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and had so much fun that we have decided to do it again this year. We loved getting away to a warm climate, exploring new ports of call, having organized New Year’s festivities that were appropriate for the entire family and a range of shipboard activities that appealed to everyone.”
Disney Cruises has introduced the Very Merrytime Cruises available now through Dec. 31. They are also transforming their private island, Castaway Cay, into a private winter wonderland for guests. Snow flurries, a Christmas tree and Mr. and Mrs. Snowman (in island attire) are just a few things you will find once you disembark to explore Disney’s own paradise.
If you’d like to skip Mickey and Minnie this year, Carnival has launched its Fun 2.0 ships with just a few more bells and whistles than you would expect. As usual your little ones can enjoy Camp Carnival while your teens party at Club 02. Carnival waterworks are a must for the whole family as you can zoom down waterslides as you cruise through the ocean to your next destination. Don’t worry parents — it’s not all for the kids. You can relax at the spa, take in a movie and play a little golf onboard.
During shore excursions you can do a little snorkeling, scuba diving and get up close with a few sea creatures. You can also explore the nearby towns, zip line through the canopy or simply curl up in a chair with a book. After all, this is your vacation we are talking about. You don’t want to work too hard.
Whether you want to hop aboard a cruise ship, dig your feet in the sand in the Hawaiian Islands or get caught up in the magic of the holidays in New York City, you really can’t go wrong. Giving your kids the gift of travel, exploring something new and your undivided attention may just be the gift you have all be looking for but never knew it. And just think… you won’t have to do any Christmas dinner clean up.
Where are you headed for the holidays?
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